INTEL ENLISTS AID FROM PR AGENCY;CHIP MARKETER PLOTS RETAIL MOVE

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Intel Corp. is readying a second assault on the retail marketplace.

The company that made its computer chips a household word with the 4-year-old "Intel inside" campaign picked public relations agency Technology Solutions, New York, to handle Intel's tie-in with the Smithsonian Institution's 150th anniversary road show. The agency also will help Intel at the January Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Business Marketing reported.

Intel tried two years ago to manufacture and market retail packages of modems, video cards and aftermarket chips, and the results were disappointing. The giant chipmaker has remained in the retail market to a limited degree with products like processor upgrades and branded modems.

"They just didn't get the full feeling of retail then, both with the press and with the retailers," said David Perkel, president of Select Technologies/Retailing, an Edison, N.J.-based consultancy.

Some observers see Intel's arrangements with some consumer market giants-including Sony Electronics, Packard Bell Electronics and Microsoft Corp. for video and audio components as well as computer peripherals-and the hiring of Technology Solutions, as indications the chip marketer is readying a bigger push into retail.

"They are close to deals that will establish them as the prime maker of TV boards that go into PCs [expected to be a hot area for Christmas '96]. They are also ready for the modem business again and they also plan to be a leader in the convergence business," Mr. Perkel said.

Intel, whose ad agency is Dahlin Smith White in Salt Lake City, declined to confirm the retail push.

Other consumer electronics experts said Intel is ready for the next development stage.

"They've launched a lot of things at trade shows and their live market experience has been especially effective at the Consumer Electronics Show and Comdex," said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association, which stages the CES.

Technology Solutions has experience in the consumer marketplace, working for Sony's consumer electronics division; a variety of PR projects for IBM Corp.; and Walt Disney Co.'s technology center, Innoventions. The PR agency also took once-unknown id Software, maker of the highly popular Doom computer games, to the mainstream market.

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